Cycling is a good way to improve your fitness and heart health. Two short trips to the shops and back each day – about 30 minutes of daily cycling – will begin to benefit your cardiovascular system.
The National Cycle Network now covers 14,700 miles across the UK. The system of safe, traffic-free lanes and quiet, on-road routes connects every major city and passes within a mile of 55 per cent of UK homes, making it a great way to explore your locality or further afield.
Getting on a bike can make you feel young again, as you speed along with the wind in your hair. Cycling releases invigorating bursts of endorphins, our feel-good neurotransmitters.
Cycling can be a sociable activity, too. There are groups throughout the UK for cyclists of all abilities
A bike saddle holds 70 per cent of your body weight, so the pressure on your joints is very low, too. If you’re new to cycling, recovering from an injury, or put off because you live in a hilly area, an electric bike may be an option.
Apart from the initial cost of the bike and its minimal running costs, cycling is free. Plus, you’re getting fit while going from A to B, saving money you may have spent on a gym membership, as well as cutting travel costs.
The risks of cycling are low. The health benefits of cycling rather than driving every day are many times greater than any risk of injury. A cycling proficiency course, available for all skill levels, could boost your confidence.
There are sponsored bike rides for cyclists of all levels, so you can combine fundraising for great causes with getting fit, being part of a group challenge and a great day out.
Almost every muscle is used while cycling. Leg muscles are worked the most – for pedalling – but abdomen and back muscles stabilise the body, while the shoulder-arm muscular system supports you at the handlebars. Cycling builds strength all over the body, and as your core muscles improve, so does your balance.
A study showed cycling produces zero carbon pollution, making it an environmentally sustainable form of transport. A bike can replace your car or the bus, especially for shorter journeys, and more cyclists mean fewer congestion-related emissions. Add-ons like trailers and seats mean children can go green too.
Cycling for those with disabilities is becoming increasingly popular. Tricycles that offer more stable support and handcycles for wheelchair users or those with severe weakness are available. Many organisations now also provide companions for blind and visually impaired cyclists.